Research for Fantasy Stories: Dieselpunk Research

Yes, you can – and should – do research for your writing, even if you’re writing fantasy. Especially if you’re writing historical fantasy. 

The dieselpunk short story series I’m working on is just that – historical fiction with elements of fantasy. While dieselpunk traditionally involves retro-futuristic technology (think the flying jetpack from The Rocketeer), it can also include elements of the paranormal or the fantastical. And to write any or all of these nuances well requires a bit of research.

Here are some of the things that I’m currently researching for my historical fantasy/dieselpunk series:

Jazz-Age Fashion and Aesthetics

The stories I’m writing take place during the Roaring 20s, and my protagonist, Cornelia Jones, is a wealthy socialite. While Cornelia’s adventures don’t really focus on the details of day-to-day life, I do want to give the readers an accurate feeling for the setting and the time period. The clothes that an upper-class woman in the mid-twenties would have worn, the kind of car she owns, other details like the use of telegrams and iceboxes and gramophones all help to build the world. Continue reading

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When You’re Hit with a Shiny New Idea

Most of us creative types are often working on at least two projects at any given time.

So what do you do when you’re going along as planned, making headway (or not) on your current creative projects, and a Shiny New Idea hits you out of the blue?

The way I see it, you can handle this one of three ways:

File it away for later

Whether your Shiny New Idea is just the vaguest form of a concept or a full-blown Idea, write it down. You’ll never bring your Idea to fruition – now or later – if you don’t first write it down. And no, you won’t remember it later. Writing it down and filing it away is a good way to a) remember the Idea when the first Shininess has worn off, and b) let it cool before you interrupt all your current projects to work on it. Continue reading

Blogging Topics for 2018: What Do You Want?

Well, here it is – my first blog post of 2018! Whee!

I’ve been a disciplined blogger for years – I’ve posted at least one blog post a week for several years now, missing only a few weeks here and there in all that time. However, I’ve never been a particularly organized blogger; that is, I’ve never had blog topics and outlines planned out for weeks or months in advance. I count myself productive if I have even one post written ahead of time.

And in all my new year’s resolutions and goals, becoming an organized blogger is not one of them. Sorry, but there it is. Perhaps that makes me less of a professional writer; but I have enough trouble outlining and keeping up with the books I’m writing. Continue reading

2017 – A Year in Review

This has been quite a year for me. For all of my followers, I hope you have enjoyed reading my posts, and have gotten some useful and insightful tidbits from this blog. And I hope you continue to read, because in 2018 I plan to delve deeper into all things writerly, both for myself and to share with my fans and followers.

2017 has been a busy year for me, full of learning experiences, dreams being realized, and unexpected blessings. Here’s a quick rundown of my year:

  • In the spring, I left the only home I’d ever known (central Virginia) and moved across the country to the inland northwest (north Idaho). I had no job or place to live lined up, but my sister and her family had moved out there the year before, and I was ready for a change. So I packed up my cat and my books in a U-Haul (don’t panic – the cat rode in the car, not the trailer) and drove across the country.
  • Just a few short months later, I’m living in a little cottage built in 1929, surrounded by fruit trees and mountain views. My town has one traffic light, no McDonald’s, and no movie theater. Most of my neighbors have chickens, and it’s not uncommon to see someone riding a horse through downtown. It’s a border town, so I see as many Montana and British Columbia license plates as I do Idaho plates. My town does have a library and a used book store, though, so there’s that.
  • I’ve met so many new writers this year, both in real life and online. There’s a pretty vibrant writing/artistic community in my area. And Twitter is a wonderful platform for connecting with writers from all over.
  • I published three books this year. They’re all short (a novella and two short stories), but hey, it still makes me an officially published author.
  • I’ve been delving into dieselpunk this year, and learning more and more about all the different nuances of this “punk” sub-genre of science fiction or historical fantasy. I’m learning that there’s a niche for every interest, and a market (even if it’s a small one) for every niche. If you’re not sure who your target audience is for your books, or what to call the kind of books that you’re writing, then keep searching and keep reaching out. You’ll find your people.
  • I had a white Christmas for the first time in forever. I think I experienced a white Christmas perhaps twice my whole life in Virginia. I’m a big lover of snow, and an even bigger lover of Christmas and all things holiday, so having two feet of white powder on Christmas was pretty much a dream come true.

I hope every one of you had some good experiences in 2017. Whether 2017 was your best year or not, find something to be thankful, something you can learn from, and set your goals and dreams for the upcoming year.

Onward to 2018!

How to Wish Writers a Merry Christmas

If you’re not a writer (or even if you are), you probably know a writer – or at least follow a few on social media. So while you’re putting the finishing touches on your holiday gift-buying (or if you’re one of those ones who hasn’t started yet), I’m here to offer you a few tips on how to give the best gifts to those writers in your life. And some of these gifts won’t even cost you any money! Here are some ideas:

Buy their Books

Okay, this one might cost you a little money. But it’s money well spent. For sometimes less money than you just spent on your peppermint mocha drink, you can download an ebook and get hours of entertainment. It’s not a big deal for you, but trust me, for us writers, selling a book and providing information or enjoyment to one person is a big deal. Continue reading